Saturday, October 30, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival Entry

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

Shhh....This quilt is still a secret! My daughter Brenna (age 8) and I made this lap quilt for my grandma. Brenna selected the fabrics, pieced them together (all the machine sewing), and pinned the quilt sandwich. She also did a little of the hand quilting, which is something she's just learning.

In her words:

I helped make this quilt for my Nana. It is made out of a few scraps from my scrap bag that I got from Millers Dry Goods in Ohio. I made this because my Nana had breast cancer and I know that these are the breast cancer ribbons. I helped pin, sew, and quilt this blanket. I had lots of fun making this quilt and I cannot wait to give it to her next weekend!

In my words:

Dear Nana,
Most of the time quilts are passed down. This one, we're passing up. It's been at least ten years since you beat breast cancer. When I think of all the extra time we've had with you, I'm so glad you fought so hard. I know it wasn't easy. But I want you to know how thankful I am that you made it. I'm glad my kids know my Nana. Their Nana.

I didn't realize that Brenna knew you'd had cancer. When she was choosing a bag of scraps at the fabric store in Amish Country this summer, she specifically chose the one that had pink ribbons. I wasn't sure why and when I asked, she told me, "because the pink ribbons stand for breast cancer and Nana had breast cancer. I'm going to make something with it for her."

When we got home to Virginia, we laid the pieces out and decided that there wasn't enough for a blanket. Searching through my stash, we found a pink stripe that matched well. I didn't have enough white for the back so we pieced together three large pieces. Brenna did all of the machine sewing for the front and the back.

It still puzzled me how she knew about the ribbons in the first place so I asked her. It turns out Stephen [my brother] had a pink ribbon from doing the Race for the Cure in your honor. Some time back, Brenna asked why he had a pink ribbon and he explained it to her. Your struggle with this disease impacted every one of us - even this many years later.

Once we completed the quilt top, we called you to find out how to mark the lines. Do you remember that call? I think you were playing cards with friends that night. Knowing we were going to hand quilt it and that Brenna would be learning how to do this, I drew the lines 3 inches apart on the diagonal. Brenna made the final decision on which way the lines would go. Then we pin basted it together and set it in the hoop.

The lines didn't show up well on the brown. Brenna worried that I couldn't see them. I wonder if you felt like that a bit during chemo. Not being able to see where all this was heading or if you'd find your way out. Yet God could see the lines and knew exactly where he was taking you. (Personally, I think He knew that you just HAD to meet Brenna someday. wink) Anyway, once we got out into the pink I spent some time with Brenna teaching her about hand quilting. I know how you feel about hand quilting and I want to keep passing down that tradition.

If you flip the quilt over, you'll be able to find Brenna's section near one of the corners. She worked a long time on those few inches. The hoop was large and she's just a beginner. It's an awkward stitch for her yet. I wish you could have seen her excitement the day she came home from school and I had the whole top finished. She could hardly wait to go to Jo-Ann's with me to find a fabric for the binding.

Brenna has an eye for color, Nana. You'd be proud. We spent a long time in the store looking for the perfect binding fabric and rejecting everything we found. I was just about to give up when Brenna ran ahead and said, "MOM! I found it! It's perfect!!" And indeed it was. A soft flannel print with small pink ribbons. It had both light and dark pinks and a white background. Absolutely perfect.

But I was scared to cut it. I'd never made binding before, much less continuous binding. I studied and read and studied and read and thought it through in my head over and over. Then I took a deep breath and just went for it. In the end I was amazed just how much binding a half a yard makes! We have a ton left over!

On the day I finished the last stitch, I couldn't wait for Brenna to get home from school! When she finally did her eyes lit up and she said over and over, "Oh Mama! It's just beautiful! Nana's going to love it!"

And I think she's right. To her, those ribbons represent strength. They represent courage. They represent her Nana. And that, is beauty.

I love you Nana!

Brenna and Nana sharing a moment this summer.


Dolly said...

Oh, what a wonderful tale !
Congratulations, Brenna, on a beautiful, lasting, thoughtful and loving gift.

As a grandma myself, I know that she will treasure this quilt forever and it will warm her in SO MANY ways !

TurtlesButterfly said...

Julie there are tears streaming down my face right now. I think this is one of my favorite posts. I know I'm glad Nana beat breast cancer too. I remember going to her house and helping her clean while she was going through chemo. Every October I purchase at least something with pink ribbons or that supports breast cancer research. I have socks, pins, shirts, a bracelet, and this year I bought a necklace. Every time I wear them I think of Nana. Hug her extra tight when you see her please.

MomBrose said...

What a beautiful story about beautiful ladies! ;) What a rich history of tradition and family and strength you all share. Did you know my nana (we call her that too) beat breast cancer also?? We are truly blessed that they are conquerers! :) Oh, and I love the quilt! :D Reagan is starting to help me too and is doing SO well.

Anonymous said...

Julie & Brenna, That is quite a beautiful & very special quilt you made for your Nanna. She will treasure it always!!!
When she wraps herself up in the quilt, Nanna will feel your loving hands keeping her warm and that will put a smile on her lovely face.
Good job, ladies!!!
Love, Grandma & Papa Jim

baukje said...

What a beautiful emotional story.

Greetings from France

Scrapbooking UnGlued said...

Aww this is wonderful Julie! Nana will be overflowing with Joy and Tears. I remember days when Nana was so weak during Chemo but yet she still had the energy to give us big hugs and kisses! For someone who has been through so much (Polio & Chemo), she has a heart of GOLD and truly is an inspiration to us all! I hope some day I can be the "Nana" she was to me, for my grandchildren. Take LOTS of pictures!!!
Lots of Love & Hugs,

Sarah said...

The quilt and the stories are beautiful Julie. I'm so impressed with your daughter - she is certainly a special little girl - what a blessing she must be! :)

Jennifer said...

Such a beautiful gift...I am sure your Nana will love it, along with the priceless letters!

Carol said...

That is a very beautiful "letter to Nana". Thank you for sharing and for encouraging your daughter in her desire to do something good for her.